Cambridge Ideas That Changed The World
Blog arrow

Cambridge Ideas That Changed The World

From techy innovations to pioneering scientific discoveries – here are five amazing inventions from our city.


Did you know that Cambridge gave birth to in vitro fertilisation? This world-changing scientific advancement was spearheaded by Professor Robert Edwards in Cambridge during the 1960s and 70s.

Affordable Home Computers

In today’s digital world, it’s hard to imagine a time when owning a personal computer was unobtainable for most of the country’s population. That all changed in 1981 with the arrival of Sinclair Computing’s ZX81, the UK’s first truly affordable home computer – made right here in Cambridge.

Raspberry Pi

Another amazing advancement in computing came from Cambridge company Raspberry Pi, which created a cheap, fully programmable, credit-card sized micro-computer back in 2006. Geared towards making digital creation as accessible and easy as possible, it sparked a revolution in computing and has gone on to sell tens of millions of units around the world.

The Rules of Football

People have probably been playing something like football for as long as they’ve had feet and something to kick, but Cambridge had a unique role in the birth of the beautiful game as we know it today. The story starts on Parker’s Piece in 1863, when a group of students set about codifying a formal set of rules to football, creating a less aggressive, more structured game. These so-called ‘Cambridge Rules’ would go on to inform the codes implemented by the Football Association shortly after. Pay a visit to Parker’s Piece today and you can find a sculpture that shows the original rules carved into granite in different languages.


Possibly the biggest boast of all which Cambridge can lay claim to is unveiling the secret of life itself – in the shape of a double helix – which marked a milestone in the history of science. This discovery of the structure of DNA was made by Cambridge scientists James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953, giving rise to modern molecular biology and leading to countless ground-breaking advancements, including genetic fingerprinting and modern forensics. The pair famously announced their ‘Eureka’ moment in The Eagle pub in the city centre.

Background Image

Did you know?

Forming part of St John’s College, The Bridge of Sighs is one of Cambridge’s most famous landmarks. It shares little with its Venetian namesake, but this Gothic Revival style structure is a beauty in its own right, best admired by punt.